Corcovado’s vast expanse of stunning scenery and range of action-packed adventures can make for an expensive trip. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Here’s how to tackle Costa Rica’s most breathtaking national park on any budget...
Isolated on the Osa peninsula in the south of Costa Rica, a trip to Corcovado National Park can be tricky, and owing to the effort that it takes to get there, it can be expensive. Once you’ve arrived, however, you’ll understand why so many visitors spend time and money getting here, and the trip will seem a small price to pay for an unforgettable experience of wild Costa Rican nature. It is possible to cut down costs once you’re in the park, however, making it a great choice for visitors on any budget.
Although it can seem a little steep, hiring a guide for a day is a must, and is an excellent use of money, to spot all of the animals and sites within the park. Choosing to walk rather than drive through the park is also an excellent way to save money, since it will not only be cheaper but will give you a much better chance of seeing the parks many animal residents and of taking in the beauty of this place. Puerto Jimenez, in the east of the peninsula is also an excellent choice of base camp for those wishing to save a bit of money. This small town offers modest and comfortable accommodation at a lower price and local restaurants which won’t break the bank. Hiking here is truly incredible and costs you nothing. Follow the beach in the direction of Madrigal, which is located between La Leona and La Sirena for a truly beautiful route.
The best option for those who don't want to walk too much is to enter the park via Bahia Drake, in the north of the peninsula. Go to Sierpe by car or bus; a quirky holiday village in the middle of the mangrove. From there, book a day excursion which includes the boat trip to San Pedrillo, a picnic lunch and the services of a guide. All of this won’t cost you an arm and a leg, although the price can vary. The day is broken down into two shorter walks which won’t be too strenuous. On top of all this, you can see beautiful landscapes from the boat which will give you a unique view of the park that even those paying top dollar for their tour won’t get.
With an extensive budget, Corcovado can be seen in style. There are several great hikes to choose from for hikers of all levels. Seasoned hikers can arrive in Puerto Jimenez by plane before continuing on to Carate by taxi. From there, a beautiful 2 or 3 day hike takes you to Los Patos via La Sirena, where you will need to book accommodation and meals. Comprehensive packages are offered by local agencies but these can be pricey. The 1st and the 3rd days of this tour are reserved for an intense hike which lasts all day and will certainly leave you feeling as though you have earned a decent meal and a comfortable bed. The second day of the 3-day hike is dedicated to exploring around La Sirena, giving you a chance to take in its beauty.
Those travellers not keen on walking but who don’t mind spending a few extra pennies should arrive in Bahia Drake by plane. From there, during the high season, it is possible to organise a day trip to La Sirena. If you want to make a real entrance, certain visitors have even arrived here directly by private aircraft, although this would mean missing the jaw dropping drive into the park. The superb lodges at Bahia Drake may be expensive, but the comfort and relaxation they offer is priceless. Here, everything is included and you can dive at Isla del Cano, do yoga, go fishing, or try some truly delicious food.
In short, Corcovado has so much to offer any visitor and everyone can find something to suit their taste and budget, provided they are willing to spend a minimum amount. Plan to spend 3 to 4 days here to make the most of everything this beautiful location has to offer.